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I Bet You Didn't See... Flash Gordon

Contains Spoilers!!!

This 1980's cult classic is the tale of an American Football star, Flash Gordon (Sam Jones), who is embroiled in a fight to save the Earth from the evil Emperor Ming, the Merciless (Max von Sydow). Adapted from a 1930's sci-fi comic and television series (which I will review later on), this is one for those looking to watch something daft and fun. I have rated it as a 6/10, because it is absolute crap, but it is so much fun!

Professor Hans Zarkov (Topol), predicts usual activity affecting the sun, but didn't foresee ANOTHER PLANET heading for the Earth! Somehow, American Footballer Flash Gordon gets caught up in the fight.

Ming, the Merciless

Ming the Merciless (von Sydow), comes in with his minions doing everything he says, and cannot comprehend why Flash is trying to save his measly little planet. Ming needs some entertainment, so why is he stopping him? That's just stupid.

Princess Aura (Ornella Muti), Flash, Barin

Flash goes through the adventure meeting new and wonder character ruled over by Emperor Ming, including Lord Vultan of the Bird-Men, played by the ever-exuberant Brian Blessed, and the charismatic but judgmental Prince Barin of Arboria, played by Timothy Dalton in his pre-Bond days.

Along with Melody Anderson as Flash's girlfriend Dale Arden delivering the immortal line

"Flash! I love you! But we only have fourteen hours to save the Earth!", and the stunning Mariangela Melato as General Kala, the cast is eccentric, flamboyant and really hammy!

We have wonderful scenes like Barin and Flash fighting to the death on a tilting platform with spikes shooting up from the floor, Brian Blessed hanging from a ceiling on wires shouting "DIVE, MY HAWKMEN! DIVE" (Yes, I know you said it mimicking his baritone bellow!) and Flash's final fight scene using his quarterback skills to beat up everyone in his way.

Add that to Queen's iconic soundtrack, the cheesy plastic props and sets and the ridiculous outfits that make up 1980's versions of 1930's sci-fi, you have a cult phenomena.

The Hood, or Ming, I can't remember!

In my research into Flash Gordon, I found out that there is now a BBFC warning on the film as Ming the Merciless is seen as potentially offensive for his East-Asian appearance. Fair enough, he does have a dated look about him and I can see why, although he looks more like The Hood from Thunderbirds!

I have also discovered that Taika Waititi, director of Thor: Ragnorak, has been planning an animated remake of Flash Gordon. However, this has changed... It's going to be a live-action film! I am really excited by this because Waititi is more likely to stick to the over-the-top, eccentric vibe of the original film.

Flash Gordon is a cheap-looking, vibrant, ridiculous, exuberant and sexy piece of fun with glamorous outfits, iconic script and music and, of course, Brian Blessed!

Directed by: Mike Hodges

Screenplay by: Lorenzo Semple Jnr.

Based on: 1934 Flash Gordon comic strip characters by Alex Raymond

Starring: Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson, Max von Sydow, Brian Blessed, Topol, Brian Blessed, Timothy Dalton

Released: December 5th, 1980

My Rating: 6/10

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